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Hissyspit

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Number of posts: 43,702

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NY Attorney General Probing U.S. Chamber of Commerce for Allegedly Laundering AIG Money for Lobbying

http://www.republicreport.org/2012/tax-exempt-groups-under-investigation-illegal-lobbying-efforts-u-s-chamber-commerce-targeted

NY Attorney General Probing U.S. Chamber of Commerce For Allegedly Laundering AIG Money For Lobbying, Political Commercials

New York state will investigate the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for unfair corporate influence in elections.
POSTED AT 6:12 PM BY MEHRAD YAZDI
Yesterday, New York Attorney General Eric T. Schneiderman issued a subpoena targeting a foundation affiliated with the U.S. Chamber of Commerce for illegally funneling $18 million to the Chamber for its political campaigning and lobbying efforts.

The New York Times reports:

The investigation is also looking at connections between the chamber’s foundation, the National Chamber Foundation, and another philanthropy, the Starr Foundation, which made large grants to the chamber foundation in 2003 and 2004. During the same period, the National Chamber Foundation lent the chamber $18 million, most of it for what was described as a capital campaign.

Watchdog groups claim that the grants given to the National Chamber Foundation from the Starr Foundation had subsequently been loaned to the Chamber of Commerce to be used to finance lobbying in Congress and run issue advertising in the 2004 presidential and Congressional elections.

Schneiderman’s investigation is significant because it targets the use of tax-exempt groups that funnel money into politics while hiding donors:

The biggest such groups, including Americans for Prosperity, which is backed by the billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch, and Crossroads Grassroots Policy Strategies, which was founded by Karl Rove and other Republican strategists, are expected to spend hundreds of millions of dollars this year on issue advertisements against candidates to sway the outcome of the presidential and Congressional elections.

MORE

Mexico's Opposition Candidate Pena Nieto Winning Election: Exit Polls

Source: Reuters

Mexico's Opposition Candidate Pena Nieto Winning Election: Exit Polls

By Daniel Trotta

MEXICO CITY | Sun Jul 1, 2012 9:27pm EDT

(Reuters) - Opposition candidate Enrique Pena Nieto is seen winning Mexico's presidential election by a comfortable margin and restoring to power the party that ruled for much of the 20th century, according to three exit polls.

Pena Nieto, 45, led by between 8 and 11 percentage points in exit polls released by three of Mexico's main television networks after voting ended on Sunday night.

The Institutional Revolutionary Party (PRI), which governed Mexico for 71 years until losing in 2000, has staged a comeback behind the handsome Pena Nieto, who has pledged to open state-owned oil monopoly Pemex to foreign investors, raise tax revenue and liberalize the labor market.

The polls showed him winning around 40 percent of the vote.

Leftist rival Andres Manuel Lopez Obrador was in second place with Josefina Vazquez Mota of the ruling National Action Party, or PAN, trailing in third.

https://twitter.com/Reuters/status/219597871513731074

Reuters Top News ‏@Reuters
Opposition candidate Pena Nieto wins Mexico presidential election: Milenio TV exit poll, watch http://reut.rs/KI6pp2 for updates

http://www.reuters.com/

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/07/02/us-mexico-election-idUSBRE85S1G320120702



Will Update. Keep in mind: This may be wrong.

Philadelphia Mayor Apparently Wants Occupy National Gathering Participants to Go Thirsty in Heat

http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/07/01/philadelphia-mayor-wants-occupy-national-gathering-participants-to-go-thirsty-in-heat/

Philadelphia Mayor Wants Occupy National Gathering Participants to Go Thirsty in Heat

By: Kevin Gosztola Sunday July 1, 2012 4:26 pm

Record-breaking heat has been sweeping the United States. The Occupy movement is holding a major National Gathering in Philadelphia right now, where the temperature has reached ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit. Anyone spending hours out in this weather needs to drink water so as not to pass out from heat exhaustion. But Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, a Democrat, has issued orders instructing city departments and other organizations in the city to not give water to occupiers.

Occupiers intended to be able to get water from a fire station nearby where the Gathering has been taking place (right downtown around Independence Mall). When occupiers went to get water for participants who would be at today’s activities, a firefighter said the department could not give occupiers water. A direct order had been given from Nutter to not provide water to occupiers.

A person who is out in heat for a long period can get an illness. In extreme cases, people can die. The most serious illness, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is heat stroke. One of the factors that can contribute to the cause of these heat-induced illnesses is “low liquid intake” or lack of water. It is highly encouraged that people drink water “every fifteen minutes.”

This order is a clear example of repression. A Democratic mayor does not want to be seen as encouraging the Occupy movement. He would like to make sure none of his precious campaign donors in the city get wind of city employees like firefighters helping people stay well throughout the Gathering. Ordering firefighters to not give out water may keep the numbers low. Having police not let people have water to distribute can keep numbers low, too. The mayor would rather have occupiers pass out and go to the hospital with serious heat illnesses than risk being seen as too sympathetic to this movement for economic equality and justice.

MORE AT LINK

I haven't found confirmation of this personally:

pHink a. saurus ‏@pHinkasaurus
#wtf MT @OccupyFreedomLA @occupyng confirmed via twitter that Philly mayor asked Quakers not to give protesters water

Philadelphia Mayor Wants Occupy National Gathering Participants to Go Thirsty in Heat

Source: Kevin Gosztola


Philadelphia Mayor Wants Occupy National Gathering Participants to Go Thirsty in Heat

By: Kevin Gosztola Sunday July 1, 2012 4:26 pm

Record-breaking heat has been sweeping the United States. The Occupy movement is holding a major National Gathering in Philadelphia right now, where the temperature has reached ninety-five degrees Fahrenheit. Anyone spending hours out in this weather needs to drink water so as not to pass out from heat exhaustion. But Philadelphia Mayor Michael Nutter, a Democrat, has issued orders instructing city departments and other organizations in the city to not give water to occupiers.

Occupiers intended to be able to get water from a fire station nearby where the Gathering has been taking place (right downtown around Independence Mall). When occupiers went to get water for participants who would be at today’s activities, a firefighter said the department could not give occupiers water. A direct order had been given from Nutter to not provide water to occupiers.

A person who is out in heat for a long period can get an illness. In extreme cases, people can die. The most serious illness, according to the Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSHA), is heat stroke. One of the factors that can contribute to the cause of these heat-induced illnesses is “low liquid intake” or lack of water. It is highly encouraged that people drink water “every fifteen minutes.”

This order is a clear example of repression. A Democratic mayor does not want to be seen as encouraging the Occupy movement. He would like to make sure none of his precious campaign donors in the city get wind of city employees like firefighters helping people stay well throughout the Gathering. Ordering firefighters to not give out water may keep the numbers low. Having police not let people have water to distribute can keep numbers low, too. The mayor would rather have occupiers pass out and go to the hospital with serious heat illnesses than risk being seen as too sympathetic to this movement for economic equality and justice.

Read more: http://dissenter.firedoglake.com/2012/07/01/philadelphia-mayor-wants-occupy-national-gathering-participants-to-go-thirsty-in-heat/



I haven't found confirmation of this personally:

pHink a. saurus ‏@pHinkasaurus
#wtf MT @OccupyFreedomLA @occupyng confirmed via twitter that Philly mayor asked Quakers not to give protesters water

Mormons Quit Church in Mass Resignation Ceremony

Source: Reuters

Mormons quit church in mass resignation ceremony

Sat Jun 30, 2012 9:07 p.m.
By Jennifer Dobner

SALT LAKE CITY (Reuters) - A group of about 150 Mormons quit their church in a mass resignation ceremony in Salt Lake City on Saturday in a rare display of defiance ending decades of disagreement for some over issues ranging from polygamy to gay marriage.

Participants from Utah, Arizona, Idaho and elsewhere gathered in a public park to sign a "Declaration of Independence from Mormonism."

"This feels awesome," said Alison Lucas, from West Jordan, Utah, who took part in the rally amid soaring temperatures. "I don't know if I would have had the courage except in a group."

The Utah-based Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints is known for its culture of obedience, and the mass ceremony was a seldom-seen act of collective revolt.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/idUSBRE86000N20120701?irpc=932

Egypt's First Islamist President (Mursi) Sworn In

Source: Reuters

Egypt's first Islamist president sworn in

CAIRO | Sat Jun 30, 2012 7:04am EDT

(Reuters) - Egypt's first Islamist president, Mohamed Mursi, took his oath of office on Saturday, ending six decades of rule by former military men although the generals in charge since Hosni Mubarak was ousted last year have already curbed his powers.

Mursi was sworn in before the Supreme Constitutional Court, rather than parliament as is usual. The Islamist-led lower house was dissolved by the same court shortly before this month's run-off presidential election.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/30/us-egypt-politics-idUSBRE85S0JP20120630

"Don't Kid Yourself. It's Still A Corporate Court. Here Are 10 Lessons From CEO Roberts..."

http://www.ourfuture.org/blog-entry/2012062628/dont-kid-yourself-its-still-corporate-court-here-are-10-ways-respond

Don't Kid Yourself. It's Still A Corporate Court. Here Are 10 Lessons From CEO Roberts.

By Richard (RJ) Eskow
June 28, 2012 - 6:20pm ET

Was today's ruling a victory for justice over corporate power? Did Chief Justice John Roberts rise above partisan differences because that's where an honest reading of the law took him?

Nah. The majority on this Supreme Court is a wholly-owned subsidiary of Corporate America. Call it SCOTUS™ Inc., and it's brought to you by the same fine folks that gave you Citizens United and Bush v. Gore. John Roberts is its CEO, not its Chief Justice.

- snip -

By defending the law, Roberts made the right decision for Corporate America. He was also able to severely limit the Federal government's ability to regulate commerce, which I believe is a major setback in a number of legal areas that's likely to provide a lot of benefit to corporations in the years to come. Since I'm not an attorney, I'll leave that analysis to others. But I'm surprised that aspect of the ruling hasn't received more attention.

- snip -

10 Lessons for the Battles to Come

- snip -

2. Don't BS the public: But Democrats would be foolish to oversell this law. In response to the ruling, the President said today that the Court has "reaffirmed a fundamental principle that here in America -- in the wealthiest nation on Earth – no illness or accident should lead to any family’s financial ruin." That's the wrong approach for a number of reasons, one of which is that people still feel that they can't afford health care - and they're right.

A majority of those who declare bankruptcy due to medical expenses already have health insurance, and the protections in this law aren't enough to prevent that from happening. Premiums and out-of-pocket costs continue to rise for insured Americans. Health insurance costs rose more last year than they had in six years, to more than $15,000 for a family of four, and they've risen by 50 percent since 2003. Democrats should acknowledge these problems, discuss ways this law will help and, most importantly, promise to do more in the next term.

REST AT LINK

Dangerous Heat Smothers Third of U.S., Suspected in Deaths

Source: Reuters

Dangerous heat smothers third of U.S., Suspected in deaths

By Tim Ghianni
NASHVILLE, Tennessee | Fri Jun 29, 2012 7:04pm EDT
(Reuters) - Temperatures in the triple digits were causing misery in the eastern and southern United States on Friday, with both Columbia, South Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee reaching all-time records of 109 degrees Fahrenheit.

The heat is suspected in the deaths of three young children.

Marked in pink on a Weather Underground map of the United States, a heat advisory spread like a rash over a third of the country, from Nebraska east to New York and south to Florida.

- snip -

As of mid-afternoon, the mercury had hit 105 F (41 Celsius) in Baltimore, Maryland and 108 F (42 C) in Petersburg, Virginia, according to Accuweather.com senior meteorologist John Dlugoenski.

Read more: http://www.reuters.com/article/2012/06/29/us-usa-weather-heat-idUSBRE85S1HH20120629

Walker Refuses to Implement Health Law

Source: Associated Press

Walker refuses to implement health law

The governor insists the law will be repealed after Republican victories in November's elections.


Posted: Friday, June 29, 2012 12:00 am
Associated Press | 0 comments

MADISON, Wis. -- Gov. Scott Walker pledged again Thursday not to phase in any parts of President Barack Obama's signature health care reform law ahead of November's elections even though the U.S. Supreme Court ruled it is constitutional.

Walker, a Republican, has said he holds out hope the GOP will recapture the White House and gain full control of Congress and repeal the legislation. He reiterated his stance Thursday minutes after the court released its ruling.

"While the court said it was legal, that doesn't make it right," Walker said at a news conference. "For us to put time and effort and resources into that doesn't make a lot of sense."

- snip -

"Ignoring federal laws in hopes that someday they will be repealed is ridiculous and irresponsible policy making," said state Rep. Kelda Helen Roys, D-Madison, who is running for Congress. "Walker, who falsely calls for increased bipartisanship, is once again pursuing his extremist policies at the expense of Wisconsin families."

Read more: http://www.thonline.com/news/iowa-illinois-wisconsin/article_10069c13-f0df-545d-909d-a85bf16d81f1.html

Paul Krugman in NYT: A Manifesto For Economic Sense

http://krugman.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/06/28/a-manifesto-for-economic-sense/

June 28, 2012, 4:46 AM

A Manifesto for Economic Sense

As regular readers know, I’ve been arguing for a long time that policy makers have misunderstood the nature of our economic crisis, mistaking symptoms for causes, and responding in ways that make the situation worse. Richard Layard and I now have a manifesto laying out the essence of this case, and are asking other economists to sign on.


http://www.manifestoforeconomicsense.org/

A Manifesto for Economic Sense

More than four years after the financial crisis began, the world’s major advanced economies remain deeply depressed, in a scene all too reminiscent of the 1930s. And the reason is simple: we are relying on the same ideas that governed policy in the 1930s. These ideas, long since disproved, involve profound errors both about the causes of the crisis, its nature, and the appropriate response.

These errors have taken deep root in public consciousness and provide the public support for the excessive austerity of current fiscal policies in many countries. So the time is ripe for a Manifesto in which mainstream economists offer the public a more evidence-based analysis of our problems.

The causes. Many policy makers insist that the crisis was Ocaused by irresponsible public borrowing. With very few exceptions - other than Greece - this is false. Instead, the conditions for crisis were created by excessive private sector borrowing and lending, including by over-leveraged banks. The collapse of this bubble led to massive falls in output and thus in tax revenue. So the large government deficits we see today are a consequence of the crisis, not its cause.

The nature of the crisis. When real estate bubbles on both sides of the Atlantic burst, many parts of the private sector slashed spending in an attempt to pay down past debts. This was a rational response on the part of individuals, but - just like the similar response of debtors in the 1930s - it has proved collectively self-defeating, because one person’s spending is another person’s income. The result of the spending collapse has been an economic depression that has worsened the public debt.

The appropriate response. At a time when the private sector is engaged in a collective effort to spend less, public policy should act as a stabilizing force, attempting to sustain spending. At the very least we should not be making things worse by big cuts in government spending or big increases in tax rates on ordinary people. Unfortunately, that’s exactly what many governments are now doing.

The big mistake. After responding well in the first, acute phase of the economic crisis, conventional policy wisdom took a wrong turn - focusing on government deficits, which are mainly the result of a crisis-induced plunge in revenue, and arguing that the public sector should attempt to reduce its debts in tandem with the private sector. As a result, instead of playing a stabilizing role, fiscal policy has ended up reinforcing the dampening effects of private-sector spending cuts.

In the face of a less severe shock, monetary policy could take up the slack. But with interest rates close to zero, monetary policy - while it should do all it can - cannot do the whole job. There must of course be a medium-term plan for reducing the government deficit. But if this is too front-loaded it can easily be self-defeating by aborting the recovery. A key priority now is to reduce unemployment, before it becomes endemic, making recovery and future deficit reduction even more difficult.

How do those who support present policies answer the argument we have just made? They use two quite different arguments in support of their case.

The confidence argument. Their first argument is that government deficits will raise interest rates and thus prevent recovery. By contrast, they argue, austerity will increase confidence and thus encourage recovery.

But there is no evidence at all in favour of this argument. First, despite exceptionally high deficits, interest rates today are unprecedentedly low in all major countries where there is a normally functioning central bank. This is true even in Japan where the government debt now exceeds 200% of annual GDP; and past downgrades by the rating agencies here have had no effect on Japanese interest rates. Interest rates are only high in some Euro countries, because the ECB is not allowed to act as lender of last resort to the government. Elsewhere the central bank can always, if needed, fund the deficit, leaving the bond market unaffected.

Moreover past experience includes no relevant case where budget cuts have actually generated increased economic activity. The IMF has studied 173 cases of budget cuts in individual countries and found that the consistent result is economic contraction. In the handful of cases in which fiscal consolidation was followed by growth, the main channels were a currency depreciation against a strong world market, not a current possibility. The lesson of the IMF’s study is clear - budget cuts retard recovery. And that is what is happening now - the countries with the biggest budget cuts have experienced the biggest falls in output.

For the truth is, as we can now see, that budget cuts do not inspire business confidence. Companies will only invest when they can foresee enough customers with enough income to spend. Austerity discourages investment.

So there is massive evidence against the confidence argument; all the alleged evidence in favor of the doctrine has evaporated on closer examination.

The structural argument. A second argument against expanding demand is that output is in fact constrained on the supply side - by structural imbalances. If this theory were right, however, at least some parts of our economies ought to be at full stretch, and so should some occupations. But in most countries that is just not the case. Every major sector of our economies is struggling, and every occupation has higher unemployment than usual. So the problem must be a general lack of spending and demand.

In the 1930s the same structural argument was used against proactive spending policies in the U.S. But as spending rose between 1940 and 1942, output rose by 20%. So the problem in the 1930s, as now, was a shortage of demand not of supply.

As a result of their mistaken ideas, many Western policy-makers are inflicting massive suffering on their peoples. But the ideas they espouse about how to handle recessions were rejected by nearly all economists after the disasters of the 1930s, and for the following forty years or so the West enjoyed an unparalleled period of economic stability and low unemployment. It is tragic that in recent years the old ideas have again taken root. But we can no longer accept a situation where mistaken fears of higher interest rates weigh more highly with policy-makers than the horrors of mass unemployment.

Better policies will differ between countries and need detailed debate. But they must be based on a correct analysis of the problem. We therefore urge all economists and others who agree with the broad thrust of this Manifesto to register their agreement at www.manifestoforeconomicsense.org, and to publically argue the case for a sounder approach. The whole world suffers when men and women are silent about what they know is wrong.

Signed by:
Paul Krugman, Princeton University
Richard Layard, LSE Centre for Economic Performance
 
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